With growing concerns over climate change, it is critical that our global society moves away from fossil fuel combustion as the primary means of energy production. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power are being increasingly implemented, but these resources are intermittent. To overcome this issue, there is significant interest in constructing carbon-neutral sustainable energy cycles where renewable energy is stored in the form of a chemical fuel, which can then be oxidized in a fuel cell to recover the stored energy on-demand. Liquid organic compounds such as formic acid and methanol are promising fuels for this energy cycle since they can in principle be generated from carbon dioxide and renewable energy, and they can be conveniently stored and transported. New catalysts for the electrochemical oxidation of formic acid and methanol based on earth-abundant first row transition metals are critically needed in order for these fuel cells to be practical. We are developing new molecular electrocatalysts for these transformations with the goals of improving efficiency and selectivity. This project involves the synthesis of new organometallic complexes, their characterization, and the study of reaction kinetics and mechanism. Students will have the opportunity to learn many characterization techniques such as NMR, UV/Vis and infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography, and electrochemistry.
Applicant must be LSAMP eligible.
The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at Rutgers University-New Brunswick is a non-medical science program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program is designed to increase the interest, retention, graduation, and success of students from racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in non-medical (STEM) fields (i.e., Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American/Alaskan, Pacific Islander).
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